Louis Wirth

Louis Wirth (August 28, 1897May 3, 1952) was a German born, Jewish American sociologist, member of the Chicago school of sociology.

Life

Louis Wirth was born in the small village of im Hunsrück, Germany. He was one of seven children born to Rosalie Lorig and Joseph Wirth. was a pastoral community, and Joseph Wirth earned a living as a cattle dealer. At the time Louis left to live with his older sister at his uncle's home in Omaha, Nebraska in 1911, had 900 inhabitants, 20 percent of whom were Jewish. The town was locally known as “Little-Jerusalem”. Both of his parents were active in their religious community and emigrated in 1936 to the USA. Soon after arriving in the United States, Louis met and married Mary Bolton. The couple had two daughters.

Research

Louis Wirth was born in Germany, but studied in the United States and became a leading figure in Chicago School Sociology. His interests included city life, minority group behaviour and mass media and he is recognised as one of the leading urban sociologists. Wirth's major contribution to social theory of urban space was a classic essay Urbanism as a Way of Life, published in the American Journal of Sociology in 1938.

His research was concerned with how Jewish immigrants adjusted to life in urban America, as well as the distinct social processes of city life. Wirth was a strong supporter of applied sociology, taking the knowledge offered by his discipline and using it to solve real social problems.

Wirth writes that urbanism is a form of social organisation that is harmful to culture, Wirth details the city as a “Substitution of secondary for primary contacts, the weakening of bonds of kinship, the declining social significance of the family, the disappearance of neighbourhood and the undermining of traditional basis of social solidarity”.[1] Wirth was concerned with the effects of the city upon family unity, and he believed urbanisation leads to a ‘low and declining urban reproduction rates … families are smaller and more frequently without children than in the country’. Wirth continues, marriage tends to be postponed, and the proportion of single people is growing leading to isolation and less interaction.

But Wirth also stressed the positive effects of city life:„the beginning of what is distinctively modern in our civilization is best signalized by the growth of great cities“[2]; „metropolitan civilization is without question the best civilization that human beings have ever devised“[3]; „the city everywhere has been the center of freedom and toleration, the home of progress, of invention, of science, of rationality“[4] or: „the history of civilization can be written in terms of the history of cities“.[5]

The profound social understanding of minority groups that Wirth obtained first-hand as an immigrant Jew in America, can equally be applied to understanding the problems of other minority groups in society, such as ethnic minorities, the disabled, homosexuals, women and the elderly, all of whom have also suffered, and/or continue to suffer prejudice, discrimination and disenfranchisement from the more numerically dominant members of a host society. It is in this respect that Wirth's path-breaking and insightful work still amply rewards detailed study even today, some seventy years after his original investigations.

A good example of Wirth's work, which includes a comprehensive bibliography, is On Cities and Social Life, published in 1964.

Bibliography

Wirth, Louis
  • (1928): The Ghetto. Chicago
  • (1936): Preface to „Ideology and Utopia“, by Karl Mannheim. In:Shils, E.;Wirth, L. (ed.), Ideology and Utopia, by Karl Mannheim, NY, p. XIII-XXXI
  • (1936): Types of Nationalism. In: AJS, Vol. 41, no.6, May, p. 723-737
  • (1937): The Urban Mode of Life. In: New Horizons in Planning. Chicago, p. 23-30
  • (1938): Urbanism As A Way of Life. in: AJS 44, p. 1-24
  • (1939): Social Interaction: The Problem of the Individual and the Group. In: AJS, Vol. 44, May, p. 965-979
  • (1940): Ideological Aspects of Social Disorganization. In: American Sociological Review, Vol. 5, no.4, p. 472-482
  • (1940): The Urban Society and Civilization. In: Wirth, Louis (ed.), Eleven Twenty Six: A Decade of Social Science Research, p. 51-63
  • (1941): Morale and Minority Groups. In: AJS, Vol. 47, no.3, November, p. 415-433
  • (1941): The Present Position of Minorities in the United States. In: Studies in Political Science and Sociology. Philadelphia, p. 137-156
  • (1944): Race and Public Policy. In: Scientific Monthly, Vol. 58, April, p. 302-312
  • (1945): Group Tension and Mass Democracy. In: American Scholar, Vol. 14, No.2, p. 231-235
  • (1945): Human Ecology. In: AJS, Vol. 50, no.6, May, p. 483-488
  • (1945): The Problem of Minority Groups. In: Linton, Ralph (ed.), The Science of Man in the World Crisis, New York; p. 347-372
  • (1946): A Sociologist Looks at the Community. In: Wirth, Louis; et.al. (ed.), Community Planning for Peacetime Living. Stanford, Calif.: p. 3-89
  • (1947): American Sociology 1915 - 1947. In: AJS. Index to Volumes 1-52, 1895-1947, Chicago; p. 273-281
  • (1947): Ideas and Ideals as Sources of Power in Modern World. In:Bryson,L. et.al. (ed.), Conflicts of Power in Modern Culture. NY, p. 499-508
  • (1948): Consensus and Mass Communication. In: American Sociological Review Vol. 13, no.1, February, p. 1-15
  • (1948): World Community, World Society, and World Government. In: Wright, Quincy (ed.), The World Community, Chicago; p. 9-20
  • (1951): The Significance of Sociology. In: International Social Science Bulletin (UNESCO), Vol. 3 , no.2, Summer, p. 197-202
  • (1956): Community Life and Social Policy. Wirth Marvik, E./Reiss, A. J. (ed.), Chicago/London
  • (1964): On Cities and Social Life. Reiss, A. J. (ed.), Chicago/London
  • Reiss, Albert J.jr. (1964): "Introduction", Sociology as a Discipline. In: Wirth, Louis (1964)
  • Salerno, Roger Allen (1987): Louis Wirth: A Bio-Bibliography. New York, Westport, London
  • Vortkamp, Wolfgang (2002): Partizipation und soziale Integration in heterogenen Gesellschaften. Louis Wirths Konzeption sozialer Organisation in der Tradition der Chicagoer Schule, Opladen ISBN 3-8100-3069-4

See also

  • German Wikipedia:

Reference

1. ^ Wirth, Louis (1938) Urbanism as a way of life
2. ^ Wirth, Louis (1938) Urbanism as a way of life
3. ^ The City. (The City as a Symbol of Civilization.); The Papers of Louis Wirth, The Joseph Regenstein Library, Special Collections/University of Chicago, Box: 39, Folder: 6
4. ^ Life in the City. In: Wirth 1956: p. 206-217
5. ^ Wirth, Louis (1940): The Urban Society and Civilization. In: Wirth, Louis (ed.), Eleven Twenty Six
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Hunsrück is a low mountain range in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is bounded by the river valleys of the Moselle (north), the Nahe (south), and the Rhine (east). The Hunsrück is continued by the Taunus mountains on the eastern side of the Rhine.
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Historical Jewish languages
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Urban culture is the culture of cities. Cities all over the world, past and present, have behaviors and cultural elements that separate them from otherwise comparable rural areas.
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minority or subordinate group is a sociological group that does not constitute a politically dominant plurality of the total population of a given society. A sociological minority is not necessarily a numerical minority — it may include any group that is disadvantaged
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Mass media is a term used to denote a section of the media specifically envisioned and designed to reach a very large audience such as the population of a nation state. It was coined in the 1920s with the advent of nationwide radio networks, mass-circulation newspapers and
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Urban sociology is the sociological study of social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas.

Like most areas of sociology, urban sociologists use statisticial analysis, observation, social theory, interviews, and other methods to study a range of topics, including
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American Journal of Sociology

Abbreviated title AJS
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Historical Jewish languages
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Immigration is the movement of people from one place to another. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants: tourists and short-term visitors are not considered
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Motto
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Sociological practice is intervention using sociological knowledge whether it is in a clinical or applied setting. It is different from pure academic sociology in which sociologists work in an academic setting such as a university.
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Urbanism is the study of cities - their geographic, economic, political, social and cultural environment, and the imprint of all these forces on the built environment. Urbanism is also the practice of creating human communities for living, work, and play, covering the more human
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Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate,") generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significant importance.
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city is an urban settlement with a particularly important status which differentiates it from a town.

City is primarily used to designate an urban settlement with a large population. However, city may also indicate a special administrative, legal, or historical status.
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city is an urban settlement with a particularly important status which differentiates it from a town.

City is primarily used to designate an urban settlement with a large population. However, city may also indicate a special administrative, legal, or historical status.
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worldwide view of the subject.
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Family is a Western term used to have denote a domestic group of people, or a number of domestic groups linked through descent (demonstrated or stipulated)
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Urbanization or Urbanisation (see difference in spelling) means the removal of the rural characteristics of a town or area, a process associated with the development of civilisation.
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Isolation can refer to:
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city is an urban settlement with a particularly important status which differentiates it from a town.

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